Finance Debunks Corruption Claims In Budget MSC

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The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has officially rejected reports of corruption by Spoon FM of the contractual agreement between the Ministry and Rovia Gate Technology, LLC, represented by Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Wleh Klark, Jr. The contract included the annual update and implementation of the budget management system for Fiscal Year 2024. Rovia Gate Technology, LLC is a 100 percent Liberian-owned core integrated solution information technology (ICT) firm duly registered under the laws of the Republic of Liberia. The Ministry unequivocally stated that the contract for the execution of the project was in strict adherence to the regulations of the Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2010. The Finance Ministry disclosed that the project had three options. According to the project document, the first option proposed that “the estimated cost for this project is US $220,000.00 (two hundred and twenty thousand USD) with an expected turnaround time of two (2) weeks after receipt of payment.” However, under the second option, the company put the estimated cost of the project at $200,000.00 (two hundred thousand USD) with an estimated turnaround time of four (4) weeks after receipt of payment. The third option states that “the estimated cost for this project is US $180,000.00 (one hundred and eighty thousand USD) with an expected turnaround time of eight (8) weeks after receipt of payment.” The justification for selecting the second option of $200,000.00 (two hundred thousand United States dollars) was based on the four-week (4) turnaround period provided by the vendor and the pressing need to resubmit the draft budget to the legislature, as well as to facilitate the configuration, upgrade, and maintenance services for the Budget Management System to produce the Budget Book for Budget Fiscal Year 2024 (January 1, 2024–December 31, 2024). Moreover, the adjustment to the Budget Management System (BMS) cost has been done with the previous government based on the different enhancements requested by the Ministry and implemented by the vendor. For example, in FY 19/20, the Ministry of Finance paid forty-five thousand ($45,000) USD as a payment for the BMS. Also in FY 20/21, the government paid fifty-five thousand ($55,000) USD. In FY 21/22, the government paid one hundred and eighty thousand ($180,000) USD and the same amount of one hundred and eighty thousand ($180,000) USD for FY 23. This, the Ministry said, was done in accordance with Section 64, Subsection 2b, of the amended and restated Public Procurement and Concession Act of 2010, which provides “that in the event where the lowest evaluated responsive bid exceeds the budget for the contract by a substantial margin, the procuring entity shall try to obtain a reduction in price or scope that will result in a reduction of the contract price to an acceptable level.” This provision is amplified by Section 35, Subsections 2 and 3, of the Regulation of the PPCC Act of 2010. The parties, in realization of the fact that cost is negotiable, agreed that the bid price of the financial proposal be equated to the proposed budget, which was acceptable to both parties. The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning sees these accusations as a smear campaign and a refusal by the proponents to seek the facts. The Ministry emphatically states that it remains committed to transparency and will do nothing against the laws of the Republic.

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